Psalms 61, 62, 68
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:3-4)
The symbolism in today’s readings speaks to me of God’s dwelling, his house, a sanctuary, our refuge. The Psalms are especially poignant in pointing out that God’s house provides any and all of us a refuge in which we can be a part of his family. From his sanctuary, we praise God and know his love. The New Testament and Gospel readings go on to say that if we live our lives with sincerity and truth, and if our house is united and strong, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
For many years, I’ve been so very blessed to be a part of the family here at St. Matthew’s. From the “ah-hah” moments during services on Sunday mornings, to the friendships formed in the parish hall, to being a part of our vestry and building committee, I am humbled by the outpouring of love that I feel at St. Matthew’s. A few years ago, my future bride was welcomed with open arms, and I watched her grow in her faith in this house of God. One of my most profound experiences occurred just over a year ago when she and I were married at St. Matthew’s.
These readings also speak to me of our building program, of “making space to share.” While we plan to renovate and expand our church building, everyone in our parish does such a great job of making the most of the space we have in welcoming people, conducting our worship services, teaching Sunday School, and leading and participating in our many other programs. Of course, we aren’t constrained by our physical space to reach out and help our neighbors in their communities — whether here in Sterling or elsewhere in this world. At St. Matthew’s, it’s wonderful to see so many people know God’s love and share it with so many others.
“You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God”
We are, indeed, blessed. Amen.